Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) is an interdenominational evangelical Christian theological seminary in the United States with Baptist origins. Besides its convert|118|acre|km2|sing=on main campus in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, it also has an urban campus in downtown Boston known as the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME), a campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, and an extension site in Jacksonville, Florida, which opened in January 2006.

With over 2,000 students spread across the 4 locations, it is one of the largest seminaries in the United States neither attached to a university nor any specific denomination. While maintaining a distinctive evangelical outlook, Gordon-Conwell participates in the wider theological community as a member school of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI). The latter is a consortium of nine theological schools in the Greater Boston area, representing a wide spectrum of theological persuasions. Students belonging to a BTI member school enjoy full library access to the nine schools, and are entitled to take a certain percentage of their courses at other member schools, while degrees are conferred by their own respective institutions.

Academics and accreditation

The institution is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (1964) [http://www.ats.edu/member_schools/gordonco.asp] and by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (1985). [http://www.neasc.org/roster/pssma.htm] It is also certified by the United States Government for the training of veterans and the education of chaplains for military service and for the enrolling of foreign students. [http://www.gcts.edu/about/accreditation.php] The seminary offers over 19 degrees including the Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theology (Th.M.), Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.), and a wide range of specialized master's degrees.


Though the present Gordon-Conwell was established in 1969, its historical roots can be traced to the 1880s, since it is the result of the merger of two schools: Gordon Divinity School in Wenham, Massachusetts and Conwell School of Theology of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gordon Divinity School was founded by Adoniram Judson Gordon, Baptist pastor of the Clarendon Street Church in Boston around the turn of the 20th century. Conwell School of Theology was founded by Philadelphia pastor Russell Conwell, famous for his "Acres of Diamonds" sermon. Personnel behind the merger included evangelist Billy Graham and theologian Harold Ockenga, the latter of whom was also the first president of the seminary. In the 1960s, Ockenga and others wanted a strong evangelical voice in New England to counter the major liberal Christian-based schools, including Harvard University and Boston University. With the financial backing of Pennsylvania oil man J. Howard Pew and the unifying influence of Graham, Ockenga brought two smaller schools together.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary announced the appointment of James Emery White as president, effective July 1, 2006. White succeeded Walter Kaiser, Jr. who retired on June 30, 2006. Kaiser's predecessor was Robert Cooley, who was a member of the Assemblies of God. Cooley was the first Pentecostal to be president of "a major evangelical seminary"Fact|date=June 2007 and was part of the academic wing of the Assemblies, including others like Gordon Fee, John Ashcroft and his father Robert Ashcroft.

On May 16, 2007, the seminary announced that Dr. White had resigned effective June 30 and that Dr. Haddon W. Robinson, the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching, would serve as interim president. In the summer of 2008, Dennis P. Hollinger, formerly the president of Evangelical Theological Seminary in Myerstown, Pennsylvania, was named the sixth president and Professor of Christian Ethics, effective August 1, 2008. [ [http://www.gcts.edu/presidentialsearch/index.php GCTS - About - Gordon-Conwell Seminary Names Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger as President ] ]

Former Vice President/Chief Academic Officer and Academic Dean, Dr. Barry Corey, left Gordon-Conwell to become the president of Biola University in Los Angeles. He succeeded Dr. Clyde Cook as president of Biola on July 1, 2007. [ [http://biola.edu/news/articles/070510_announcement.cfm News & Events « News & Events « Biola University ] ]

Academic Community

In the early years of the seminary, two professors were Gordon Fee, who later moved to Regent College in Vancouver, and Meredith G. Kline. Today's professors include David Wells, Jack Davis, and the retiring Walter Kaiser, Jr.. At the Boston campus, founding professor Eldin Villafane has team taught with Harvey Cox at Harvard, influencing the latter to reconsider his secularist view of the future by exposing him to Pentecostalism.Fact|date=June 2007

Today's Gordon-Conwell includes three major branches: South Hamilton ("The Hill"), Boston (CUME), and Charlotte. The Hamilton campus is a three-year residential program with traditional evangelical thinking and a mostly young full-time student body. CUME, by comparison, is an "Urban" program done exclusively through night and weekend classes. The Charlotte program is weekend based, and therefore also attracts an older student body, often part-time.


*In February 2002, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft sang a rendition of "Let the Eagle Soar" (composed by Ashcroft himself) at a seminary banquet in Charlotte on the invitation of longtime friend and President Emeritus, Robert Cooley. His performance was recorded by CNN ( [http://www.cnn.com/video/us/2002/02/25/ashcroft.sings.wbtv.med.asx Windows Media Player] , [http://www.cnn.com/video/us/2002/02/25/ashcroft.sings.wbtv.med.ram Real Player] ) and appeared in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, and several television specials.

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.gcts.edu/ Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary website]

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